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Old 02-26-2010, 07:41 PM   #11
BarleyWater's Avatar
Jan 2007
Armpit of Dallas (Irving), TX
Posts: 2,204
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Vorlaufing is a common practice in most German and other lager breweries that are producing clean crisp lager beers. Any extra grain in the kettle is said to give a burnt grainy flavor to their beers, so a lot of German brewers swear by clear wort into the kettle to give the cleanest beer in the end. While decoction mashing, steps are taken to prevent any grain from settling on the bottom that could give a burnt or grainy taste, during the boil this doesn't happen so grain particles could settle on the bottom and burn a little. American craft brewers on the other hand aren't as concerned with a little gran in the kettle, because it isn't going to make a noticeable difference in the final beers which tend to be fuller bodied and more flavorful.

On some of the beers that we make we don't bother with a vorlauf at all because we get a better run off without doing one, and on others we always recirc for about 5 minutes. It just depends on your setup and what you are brewing, but it isn't a crucial step. You don't want an excessive amount of grain to get into the kettle, but a little isn't going to be a big deal, if your runoff starts out relatively clear, you may not need to vorlauf, but the extra 5 minutes it takes to recirculate isn't that long and may result in a cleaner beer.

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Old 02-26-2010, 08:47 PM   #12
mightynintendo's Avatar
Aug 2009
Raleigh, NC
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Originally Posted by maida7 View Post
So why not put a mesh bag over your manifold and skip the vorlauf? I'm just asking.
Actually the BIAB method generally produces quite good results, often giving home brewers extraction efficiencies upwards of 80%. So why wouldn't you do it? If it's what you want to do, go for it!

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Old 02-26-2010, 09:13 PM   #13
Nov 2009
Petersburg, AK
Posts: 1,034
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RE: Tannin extraction from husks...

My last batch I was trying something new, but hadn't thought through all the details enough... it was a partial mash where I added 1 lb of specialty grains to the kettle with my boil water, brought it to boiling, added the DME/hops & boiled for 60 min (at some point in this process before it reached boiling I'd planned on filtering out the grains, but hadn't thought about how I planned to do that - so they stayed in throughout the boil and a bunch got into the fermenter). In the finished product I don't detect any bad effects whatsoever from having boiled the grains with the wort.

Could a few husks from not vorlaufing make that much of a difference? On the other hand, why not vorlauf? - seems like a pretty easy step to me.

EDIT: Some astringency is developing now, almost 4 weeks from bottling, due to aging most likely. Not the best taste.

Reason: aging

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:32 PM   #14
HSM's Avatar
Jan 2009
McMurray, PA
Posts: 460
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Vorlauf is one of those thing that people do because they believe they are supposed to. In my steel braid mash-tun I found it to be completely un-necessary as the wort runs "clear" in about 2 seconds.

My new 10 Gal RM cooler with a false bottom may be a different story. I haven't used it yet, but If I need to vorlauf I will.
"Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis."

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Old 02-28-2010, 12:51 AM   #15
Sep 2009
san diego
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Originally Posted by Hophazard View Post
It's actually a little different. Given that the husks have the wort sugars to buffer them in the decoction, they don't leech tanins as they would without the sugars. That's one reason why fly spargers monitor the gravity; once the amount of sugars drop, you risk leeching tanins around 170*. But with the sugars, you can certainly boil the grain without any astringency.
This is no different at all. There is a ton of sugar in the wort to buffer the grains.

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Old 04-02-2010, 01:20 AM   #16
celticcolorado's Avatar
Dec 2009
Centennial, CO
Posts: 268
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This is great info. I did my first AG the other day and was concerned because it seems to run clear right away. I thought i was doing something wrong.

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